The most popular acronym to help remember he rules of goal setting, is S.M.A.R.T. (Usually taught as Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed). It’s time to rethink some of this for a powerful twist.
S stands for specific. Nothing new here, but are you really being specific? Vague is saying “I want to earn a living”. Specific might sound like “I want to earn $100,000”. Really specific might be “I want to earn $100,000, as a buyer’s agent, working an average of no more than 35 hours per week and taking at least 3 weeks of vacation”. Unusual clarity of goals is one of the most common attributes of the most successful people in business. If you think you are specific enough, get a little more specific anyway and ignore the voices in your head telling you otherwise; we’ll get to them later.
M stands for Measurable. As you dive deeper into the example above, we see we can measure the dollars, and the work hours and the vacation time. If we added that the work should be enjoyable and stress-free, how would you measure that? We might set a separate goal in our personal life area, around managing stress – practice yoga 3 times per week, or walk 45 minutes 4 times a week, etc. Think of ways you can measure the things that will produce the outcome you want. Maybe you set a goal to hire a part-time assistant by Feb 28, 2017, or to refuse listings that you don’t really want to take. Yes, refusing some listings, will help you make more money, but that another article.
A stands for Attainable (or achievable). Here’s what is new: If you know how you will attain it, it is too small! That means you should set a goal that feels a little bit UN-attainable! Set the goal that would be a stretch to attain it. If you know how to make $40,000 a year, making $50,000 is not a stretch – that is just hoping for the same amount of work you did this year and a little good luck. To double your income is a stretch – yet totally doable – have other people in your position done that? Yes, many have. In fact, nearly everyone who makes that income, once earned your income. There is overwhelming evidence that it is attainable, and the only challenge is you do not yet know how you will do it. This is goal setting, not strategy setting, so set the big goal. If you wait to know how first, you will never do it and you will never get to know the strategy. The GPS in your car or phone will not give you directions to get across the state until you program in the destination. The same holds true for setting a goal. The directions for getting there come after you program in the destination.
Advanced students only: The A could stand for Actionable. You could abandon the entire discussion of attainable, throw caution to the wind and just go for it. All that matters is the goal is actionable – meaning it is something you control – don’t set a goal for your spouse, child, or boss, to be something different. If it is something you can take action on, go for it!
R stands for Relevant. I have always heard other trainers teach that R stands for realistic or reachable – this makes no sense to me, since reachable is a lot like achievable. Redundant, don’t you think? Relevant to what though, you may ask. Relevant to your life purpose, passion and legacy. Relevant to your other goals – are your career goals compatible with your health, relationship, spiritual and personal goals? Who are you? Who do you want to be? What kind of person do you want to have been when your life is over? Are your goals relevant to what really matters and to what is really worth doing in the grand scheme of things? Every time I teach a passion tester life purpose workshop, even the most successful people discover opportunities to bring more joy and meaning into their lives. Relevant may not be the first thing that impresses short-term thinkers, but it is the most sustainable and impactful in the long term.
T stands for Timed. This is similar to measurable. Quite simple to apply, and the more detailed you get, the better. Instead of saying “earn $100,000 this year” say “by 5pm, December 20, 2017 or sooner”. If you have a vision of taking off the rest of the year to enjoy family time, so you will need to create a clear vision of going home to celebrate exceeding your goal by 5pm on the 20th. When you create a clear vision and tie it to the emotions of creating that vision, the goal is even more powerful.
So what about things that are not in your control? Market conditions will either make life easier, the same or more difficult. Ever wonder how some people excel during difficult times? Watch less news and spend more time focused on your goals. For example, spending an hour meditating every day may bring the inspiration or idea that allows you to double your income in a down market. This happens all the time. Have you ever spent weeks seeking an answer to something, then all of a sudden out of nowhere, when you are quiet for a moment, the answer just comes to you?
My first discovery of this was way back in the recession of 1992. I was managing a travel agency, selling to small corporate accounts in Orlando. The travel business was down, and four nearby travel agencies closed their doors that year. We grew by over $1,000,000 in sales and merged one of the closing offices into ours. While our neighbors were watching the news and anguishing over dropping sales, I was cold calling on businesses who were looking to spend less on travel. They did spend less, and they spent it with me. Subsequently, I have bought and sold twelve homes as a side-line. In recent years, masses of amateur “flippers” watched too much HGTV and with dollar signs in their eyes, paid more than renovation projects were worth. This may or may not help you sell homes. It certainly makes it harder for you and other clients to find quality investments. In a down market, everything changes. In an up market, everything changes again. In business, change is not good or bad, it just is. Change is always an opportunity to the calm mind with a clarity of specific goals.
Michael Kline – A Certified Jack Canfield Success Trainer, Speaker & Coach. You can reach him through his website www.intus.life, or e-mail, email@example.com